Guide for expatriates moving, living and working in Brazil, Sao Paulo City Guide, international Movers, aparthotel, relocation,
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Guide for living and working in Brazil
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Working in Brazil :

Before leaving. It is advisable to learn or improve your level of Portuguese.

Entry formalities. You can enter Brazil with only a passport and a tourist visa, there are no other particular formalities to be completed if you are staying less than three months. You can renew this visa once.

But if you are going to prospect or study the market it would be better to apply for a work visa before going. This will make it easier for you to deal with local companies. When you negotiate a contract you will not have to ask for a visa and will gain time.

If you should find a job with a local company your employer will deal with all the administrative formalities concerning your stay and get a resident's permit from the authorities which will allow you to work locally.

If you are employed by a French or international company you don't have to worry about the administrative formalities, usually the administrative services deal with all the formalities concerning the expatriate staff.
If you should be the only representative of your company in the country (commercial or liaising agent etc...), then you will have to deal with all the formalities yourself.

Before leaving France, remember to get certain administrative papers which could be necessary once you are in Brazil :
- a medical certificate (from your medical centre)
- a copy of your police record
- a copy of your birth certificate
- your family record book or a certified copy.

Preparing for your departure and looking for a job.

You could start looking for information by writing to French associations which are set up in Brazil, to trade commissions, to the commercial services of Brazilian banks in France or French banks in Brazil.

Most of the French consulates abroad have a service dealing with jobs and training and can put you in touch with local companies wishing to engage French personnel. (see in our Practical Guide for the Expatriate).

The French-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in Sao Paulo also offers information about the job market and the most dynamic sectors of the economy. They also publish 'Flash', which is a bulletin printed for French companies and Brazilian members. You could publish a job application in it.

The Trade Commission in Rio de Janeiro or the CFCE in Paris can give you a list of French companies established in Brazil.

Local employment agencies have job offers, but the level of qualifications seldom corresponds to expatriate needs (see a listing in 'Useful Addresses').

Interim bureaus can often give you information and contacts that could be useful.

You can find all the documentation you need about the country at the Brazilian Embassy in Paris in the cultural service.

You can also take more direct steps and make a personal appointment with the Latin American Chamber of Commerce to complete your information and to obtain professional advice.

We advise you to avoid companies specializing in immigration.

While you are looking for information you could also contact companies directly and send your application proposing your services.

In several countries the job market is highly protected, problems of unemployment and economic recession in the country discourage a policy of employing immigrants. Local authorities oblige companies to widely diffuse their job offers within the country before looking abroad. The company is obliged to pass its job offer in the local employment agencies and take all the necessary steps to find someone locally for the post. Only if there is no one corresponding to the profile can the company accept a foreign candidate.

Where to look for job offers :

In the French press (Le Monde, Le France Soir, Figaro, Moniteur du Batiment, Expat magazine..) for French companies sending people abroad.

In the local press (O GLOBO daily 266,000 copies, Rua Irineu Marinho, n° 35 Rio de Janeiro, and A FOLHA DE SAO PAULO daily 378,000 copies, Rua Barao de Limeira, 425 Sao Paulo).

Recruiting and our advice.

Your cv must be clearly set out and detailled and accompanied by a handwritten covering letter. The curriculum vitae is different in Brazil : it must be very detailled, particularly concerning schooling and training, the recruitment officer wants all the information about your studies (primary onwards) as well as your past professional history - all your activities including training courses, your sport and cultural activities and interests. The pages should be typed and you should send copies of your diplomas, reports from training courses etc.

If you get an interview be well dressed and punctual.

The atmosphere is usually fairly relaxed and even friendly.

Be very careful not to appear pretentious about your know-how and don't exaggerate your professional competence. Stress rather your real competence, your ease of adaption, your mobility, your ability to work in a team and your willingness to bring in the experience you have gained. It never hurts to be modest and may put you on good terms with your interviewer.

Working conditions.

The legal working time is 48 hours a week, with similar hours to Europe.
Working relations tend to be pleasant.

Wages :

Local salaries are very low, but are negociable. The minimum monthly salary is the lowest of all the Latin American countries. Basic living needs cost more in Brazil than a minimum salary, the legal minimum for a worker is 136 reais per month (540 FF). An executive earns about 10,000 reais per month.
8% of the monthly wage is retained for a special account, the F.G.T.S. (a guarantee fund relating to the length of service in the company).

Dismissal :

The law is quite flexible and dismissal can happen at any time. When a company lays off an employee he can apply for compensation in the form of a reimbursement of his F.G.T.S. If there has been a case of misconduct there is a 30 day notice. The employer has to pay a supplementary compensation equivalent to 40% of the total F.G.T.S. There is a special jurisdiction at the conciliation board.

Working and investing in Brazil :

Foreign investors who wish to create a company dealing with commercial activities, or in the sectors of foodstuffs, industry, computor science and various other activities can do so with no problem.

Brazilian law encourages the creation of limited companies (LTDA), (similar to Ltd in UK or SA or SARL in France). If you want to work for the administration or create a company you are not obliged to be or to hire a Brazilian, it is sufficient to be a resident.

The French-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and the Trade Commission in Sao Paulo have combined to create a service to help small and medium size companies to study the Brazilian market. This service does marketing studies for the companies, offers a selection of operators, on-site missions and a follow up of 3 to 6 months.

Information on steps to follow and the necessary documents can be delivered by the authorities of the Brazilian Federal Police.

There is no legal minimum investment for a foreign investor, however if you do invest or are head of a company you will need about a million francs to get your resident's status.

Any investor leaving Brazil, whatever the reason, can repatriate his funds (the profits made).

NB Foreign capital must be registered with an organisme called FIRCE which is linked to the central bank of Brazil. No bank credit is given to small projects.

Some advice :

If you are setting up your own company in Brazil (which is a huge market, bureaucratically complex), here is some advice :
-it is very important to do a good market study before you leave for Brazil
-take all possible precautions at the legal level
-be very careful choosing your local partner
-work legislation in Brazil is fairly similar to Europe's
-the building works for your company could take from 6 months to 2 years from the date of the purchase of the land
-you must choose your location very carefully, taking into account distances, transport costs and delivery delays. Fiscal advantages are offered by some municipalities.
-you will have less administrative hassle if you set up your company in a free trade zone, but the costs are higher and the building time is longer
-to minimalize the problems of starting up a company (procedure, fiscal policies etc) it is better to create a limited company than to open a branch
-if you need financing, don't hope to find it in Brazil, the rates are prohibitive (between 20 and 25% and from 40 to 50% for personal bank loans!). If you are setting up a company you will need enough funds to last out for at least a year.
-the bureaucracy is so complex that a new profession has been created : the despachante, who is an intermediary who takes charge of all the administrative formalities for a company. Even if it seems an extra charge, this is an indispensable service.
-the market is very competitive, so use modern technologies.

Formalities to be completed, Visa for trip, Visa Brazil

Health and welfare :

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